Summer transfer deadline day 2022 will be remembered for the big numbers after Manchester United paid €100m for winger Antony from Ajax and seven other Premier League clubs spent in excess of €10m on a last-minute signing.
United forked out €95m on Brazilian Antony, with a further potential €5m in extras, making it the fourth highest fee in Premier League history – and the highest ever on deadline day.
He has agreed a contract until 2027, with an option for a further year, and is in contention to make his debut against Arsenal on Sunday after reuniting with Erik ten Hag, who managed him in Holland.
Antony said: “Playing under Erik ten Hag at Ajax was perfect for me and my development. His style of football and coaching brings out the best in me, and I am excited by what he has told me about his plans and ambitions in Manchester.”
That deal proved to be the most signifcant of deadline day, but United weren’t alone in the market on a night which underlined the Premier League’s position as the richest football league in the world. Chelsea, for instance, were able to bring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back to London from cash-strapped Barcelona, just seven months after he left Arsenal. They paid €11.5m for the Gabon international, on top of including full-back Marcos Alonso in the deal.
The Blues also took central midfielder Denis Zakaria on loan from Juventus with a view to a permanent transfer – and such is the money currently floating around in the Premier League they were also linked with a range of other big-money moves which didn’t quite come off.
The biggest of all was a move for Rafael Leao at AC Milan, but even Chelsea’s new owner Todd Boehly pulled out of that one when the priced reached €150m. That didn’t stop the Blues offering almost €50m for Edson Alvarez at Ajax, however, or bidding for Dynamo Moscow midfielder Arsen Zakharyan, which was rebuffed.
By contrast, Liverpool opted to fix their midfield problem by agreeing a loan deal for experienced Brazilian Arthur Melo from Juventus, and even managed to persuade the Italian club to pay part of his wages.
Should they want to keep him, however, it will cost them €37.5m to do so.
Melo, who will covered for injured Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita and Thiago, said: “I’m really, really happy to be here wearing this great shirt with this famous badge that represents so much in world football, it’s a dream. We talked a lot, and our ideas and visions were a good fit so I’m sure it was the right choice.”
Manchester City, who undoubtedly made the best signing of the window by brining Erling Haaland to the Etihad long ago, spent again to sign centre-back Manuel Akanji, 27, from Borussia Dortmund on a five-year deal for €17m, while Aston Villa paid the same fee for Wolves midfielder Leander Dendoncker before also taking Southampton Jan Bednarek on loan just before the deadline.
Everton will be happy with their transfer deadline day, having managed to keep winger Anthony Gordon (subject of a €70m bid from Chelsea) and then bring two key players to Goodison.
Midfielder James Garner, 21, cost them €17.5m from Manchester United, and they also brought Idrissa Gueye ‘home again’ from PSG for a bargain 2.3m.
Garner said: “I’m made-up to sign for Everton. It’s a huge step in my career and I want to help the team get better while progressing as a player. I think Everton is the perfect place to do that. I can’t wait to get started.
Even Leicester, who are struggling financially, managed to pay €17.5m for Reims defender Wout Faes, while Southampton, who have had an impressive window, paid 10m for Marseille centre-back Duje Caleta-Car – and Brighton brought Scottish midfielder Billy Gilmour, 21, from Brighton for 11.5m.
Arsenal were less lucky, seeing a €25m bid for Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz rebuffed on a day when Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent on loan to Southampton and Hector Bellerin left to return to Barcelona.
But perhaps the story of the window is Nottingham Forest, whose €5.4m capture of defender Willy Boly from Wolves took their transfer total to 19 players and an overall outlay of more than 150m. Unbelievable figures for a club that was in the Championship last season.
Spare a thought for Marseille striker Bamba Dieng, however.
He looked set to sign for Leeds before changing his mind after a rival bid came in from Nice whilst on a private jet heading for Yorkshire – only to fail a medical when he eventually got to the south of France.
That’s a transfer deadline day story which won’t be forgotten. But the eye-watering transfer fees are the real headline.